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Scott, W.M. (1959). Erogeneity and Libido: By Robert Fliess, M.D. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1956. 325 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 28:262-263.
(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:262-263
Erogeneity and Libido: By Robert Fliess, M.D. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1956. 325 pp.
Review by: W. Clifford M. Scott
The subtitle of this book, Addenda to the Theory of the Psychosexual Development of the Human, gives a clearer picture of the contents than the title itself. The author repeatedly says that it is not a textbook. Neither is it a monograph. Its range is so wide that perhaps it could best be called, 'Critical Notes With Illustrations'.
About three hundred pages of text are divided into one hundred twenty-five sections dealing with: 1. a critical acceptance of instinct dualism, phylogenetic inheritance, and the value of separating zonal erogeneity from libido; 2, first and second oral phases, anal-sadistic phases, phallic and genital phases; and 3, a theme which runs through most chapters, and is summarized in one, that the erotization of language results from the speech apparatus copying the modes and functioning of different erotic zones. A large amount of illustrative material is used—clinical historical, clinical analytic, dreams, poetry, literature, drama (mostly Shakespearean), and music—which interrupts the arguments set forth so frequently that the reader tends to lose the thread.
In the foreword, the critic is disarmed by the author's justification of the condensed form in which his arguments are presented. Nevertheless, when such a summary view is presented in the first part of the book as 'The analyst must expect to find phylogenesis behind ontogenesis, primary behind secondaryidentification, and primary repression behind repression', one hopes that the author will elaborate (without condensation) any one of these topics in a monograph.
The arguments and conclusions are more intriguing than conclusive. Whereas details of overdetermination of functions are to the fore throughout the book, many may consider that, when describing the later stages of instinctual development, not enough weight has been given to evidence showing how much, even during oral primacy, other zonal factors (which will become crucial and critical later) are also contributing to the total picture. For instance, the conclusion 'that an interpolation of 'delay through thought" does not exist in orality but is at first performed in the subsequent anal stage' (p. 110), does less than justice to the author's material.
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